Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Rangers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 20th 2024

The road has not been kind to the New York Rangers this month, and they have another chance to reverse the recent trend with a visit to the reeling Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. The Rangers have lost all four of their road games this month (0-3-1) and arrive in Los Angeles after a bust in Las Vegas on Thursday when they were thumped 5-1 by the Vegas Golden Knights. Mika Zibanejad scored the lone goal for New York, but it did not come until early in the third period on a power play when the Rangers already were down 4-0. New York led 19-17 on shots over the first two periods yet still trailed by four goals. The Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin had 21 saves in just his fourth loss over his past 12 starts. Overall, the Rangers are 4-6-1 since Dec. 27, and lost the momentum they might have gained back-to-back victories to close the homestand earlier this week. Zibanejad is remaining positive about the situation as the Rangers continue their four-game trip against Western Conference teams, with the All-Star break approaching. New York will play four of the next five games on the road before the break arrives. “There’s things that we do want to improve on,” Zibanejad said. “I’m happy that we have things to improve. We put ourselves in a spot to keep pushing in the second half of the season, but if things improve, that’s a good (reason) for us to just keep going.” The Kings’ issues are so pronounced these days that general manager Rob Blake addressed the media before their home game Thursday against the Nashville Predators. Los Angeles still ended the night with a 2-1 defeat despite Blake’s assurances that the roster and coaching staff are accomplished enough to get the job done. “This is our group,” Blake said as the trade deadline approaches. “This is what we assembled this summer. We knew (the) salary cap would be tough. We knew roster spots would be tough. But it’s this group that will pull out of it.” What the team needs to recover from is a run of 10 losses in its past 11 games (1-6-4). The Kings began the season on a record winning streak in road games. Blake’s optimism for the group appeared to include a vote of confidence for head coach Todd McLellan. “Our philosophy here is on the structure and the system and the design and the buy-in of the players, and (McLellan) has gotten that from the players,” Blake said. Drew Doughty scored the lone goal for the Kings on Thursday, one game after the defenseman scored the team’s lone goal in a 5-1 road loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Doughty is doing his part, notching his eighth season of at least 10 goals. He is six goals shy of tying his career high with the season just past the midway point. Kings forward Blake Lizotte (lower body) is week-to-week, while forward Viktor Arvidsson (back) is expected to return after the All-Star break. After missing six games with a lower-body injury, Rangers forward Tyler Pitlick has been a healthy scratch the past two games. –Field Level Media

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